"Zombie" pigeons in Russia = apocalypse! According to this Al Jazeera video, some unspecified group of Russian locals believe that these diseased pigeons signal the end of times. Bummer it was scheduled for the 23rd of August and it’s 20 minutes too late where I am. The actual disease affecting these pigeons is Newcastle Disease. Jezebel is reporting that it’s transmittable to humans, which is great news for people who enjoy baseless public fear. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry reports that while Newcastle can affect humans, this is rare.

Interestingly, the National Cancer Institute reports on a series of studies where Newcastle Disease is being studied as a treatment of cancer because the virus infects the host’s cells and then it uses these to replicate itself. This behaviour is similar to the way cancers work. Clinical trials show mixed results.

My interest in this story is more on the moral panic. I enjoy a great zombie virus story. Or two. Or three. This story however makes no attempt to move past the tongue-in-cheek reference to zombies to actually inform people about this fascinating disease. Avian flu spread a lot of fear and misunderstanding. In Australia, the media framed avian flu debates by evoking the Spanish Influenza Epidemic which contributed to over inflated discussions of risk and threat. Similarly in the UK while the media may not have been wholly responsible for replicating poor public health discussions about avian flu, the media amplified a “rhetoric of fear and blame…”. Media reports of swine flu in the UK also lacked social responsibility for alarmist headlines and poor scientific engagement.

The general public do not always know where to look for scientific information when a new public health story breaks. They are likely to seek out reputable sources, which includes Al Jazeera. In this case, they’ve dropped the ball. 

There are two types of people in the world: those who will watch a zombie movie and dismiss it as an entertaining fantasy, and those who are secretly taking notes. They might not want to admit in polite society, or even to themselves, but they know when society collapses and a rotting army of the undead politely knocks on the door, preparation is the key. And having a very big axe handy.

The Vine tells it like it sees it.
Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Day 1: [REC]³ Génesis.
Spanish film with English subtitles. Screens with the impressive, low-budget short Australian zombie flick Perished.
Like most adoring fans of the [REC] franchise, I came to this film brimming with excitement. REC³ Genesis (the third REC film) is the first of 15 films I’m watching at the MIFF. Unfortunately, this third instalment is disappointing - primarily because of it does not live up to the [REC] legacy.
Taught and inventive, the first [REC] film was released in 2007, delivering effective horror and using the shaky cam mockumentary style to full effect. Written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza and their other writing collaborator, Luiso (Luis) Berdejo, [REC] introduced horror fans to a strong new female protagonist.  Ángela Vidal  (played by Manuela Velasco) is a reporter who accompanies a fireman crew to an apartment building, her every move chronicled by her faithful cameraman. The audience soon learns that the apartment complex is home to an ever-increasing number of tenants who are infected with a mysterious virus that turns them into quick-limbered zombies. Velasco delivers a great performance that compelled the audience to care for her character as she screamed, ran, fought and crawled through the chaos and in the darkness. 
The second film, [REC²], opens immediately where the first film leaves off, with a SWAT Team storming the apartment building seeking to restore order and to figure out what transpired. We view the unfolding mayhem through the SWAT members’ helmet cams. The team is accompanied by a gravely serious priest who is motivated to stay in the building even as the body count rises, intent on seeking out the source of the zombie infestation. 
These two [REC] films invigorated the zombie genre by blending supernatural and religious themes with a brilliant and frightening twist. Having established a relatively complex mythology explaining the zombie plague, fans flock to the latest film with assurance that this legend will take more thrilling and unexpected turns. Instead, we get a comedic and notably pedestrian fare.
I feel conflicted about REC Genesis. If you’ve not seen the other two films, nor the competent American remakes, Quarantine and Quarantine 2: Terminal (also penned and helmed by the original Spanish writer-directors), then REC Genesis stands as an above average and enjoyable zombie romp. For fans of the first two REC films, it seems inevitable that you will be left wanting.
The two leads in REC Genesis make an amiable pair to watch. Clara (played by Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín) are newlyweds whose wedding reception becomes the scene of a massacre as one of the guests carries the zombie infection, having crossed paths with one of the unfortunate tenants from the first film. Apart from this tenuous connection, Genesis does little to extend the story that evolved over the other REC films. There is more religious injection into this plot, but it lacks the provocative and terrifying lick of the previous films.
The audience will still barrack for the survival of the young lovers in REC Genesis. The bride is played with beguiling gusto by Dolera, proving once again that these Spanish film-makers cast strong female leads without overly sexualising them. Nevertheless, the bride in Genesis incredulously chainsaws only one side of her wedding dress so her garter shows while she continues to run in ridiculously high heels throughout the latter part of the film. Such an ill conceived heterosexual male fantasy that women would want to, or be able to maintain, such ridiculous fashion choices during the zombie apocalypse! (It’s a real thing, jeepers!)
REC Genesis provides genuine laughs at times, but it is unconcerned with scaring its committed audience. Comedic zombie films have an established history, with horror master George Romero re-styling his Night of the Living Dead series as a horror comedy in the 1980s. The excessive gore in REC Genesis is played as slapstick. The narrative ambles along in entertaining but predictable grooves. Overall, the tone of this film lacks the punch of the previous REC movies, which unfurled as a clever, elongated fear feast.
On the one hand, it is commendable that the REC writing-directing-producing team of three set out to reinvent and push their original story further into new territory, rather than playing it safe and delivering derivative thrills. On the other hand, in this particular case, the comedic horror style was a miscalculation for their established audience. The first two REC films stand together as a blistering example of the majesty of the horror genre. When horror films are conceived with passion for intelligent audiences, they deliver solid characters and stories of morality and human endurance through unexpected frights that delight. REC Genesis does not meet this promise, nor does it stand up to the calibre of its predecessors. Neither thrilling nor inventive, it doesn’t move its audience’s imagination nor does it inspire us to ponder and debate the macabre.
Rating: Credit - 6.5 out of 10 Zombie Bites. A cut above the other zombie flicks plaguing our screens, but mediocre when held up to the first two trailblazing RECs.
It screens at the MIFF again this Friday, should you bother going along?
"Short answer, ‘Yes’ with an ‘If,’ long answer: ‘No’ with a ‘But’." If you haven’t seen the other RECs and you feel like a laugh, by all means go forth and zombie. Otherwise, I recommend you go instead to V/H/S (which I’ll be reviewing next) or any of the other horror films screening at the MIFF, such as the Australian film 100 Bloody Acres, which looks ace. Can’t wait to see it in general release.  High-res

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Day 1: [REC]³ Génesis.

Spanish film with English subtitles. Screens with the impressive, low-budget short Australian zombie flick Perished.

Like most adoring fans of the [REC] franchise, I came to this film brimming with excitement. REC³ Genesis (the third REC film) is the first of 15 films I’m watching at the MIFF. Unfortunately, this third instalment is disappointing - primarily because of it does not live up to the [REC] legacy.

Taught and inventive, the first [REC] film was released in 2007, delivering effective horror and using the shaky cam mockumentary style to full effect. Written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza and their other writing collaborator, Luiso (Luis) Berdejo, [REC] introduced horror fans to a strong new female protagonist.  Ángela Vidal  (played by Manuela Velasco) is a reporter who accompanies a fireman crew to an apartment building, her every move chronicled by her faithful cameraman. The audience soon learns that the apartment complex is home to an ever-increasing number of tenants who are infected with a mysterious virus that turns them into quick-limbered zombies. Velasco delivers a great performance that compelled the audience to care for her character as she screamed, ran, fought and crawled through the chaos and in the darkness. 

The second film, [REC²], opens immediately where the first film leaves off, with a SWAT Team storming the apartment building seeking to restore order and to figure out what transpired. We view the unfolding mayhem through the SWAT members’ helmet cams. The team is accompanied by a gravely serious priest who is motivated to stay in the building even as the body count rises, intent on seeking out the source of the zombie infestation. 

These two [REC] films invigorated the zombie genre by blending supernatural and religious themes with a brilliant and frightening twist. Having established a relatively complex mythology explaining the zombie plague, fans flock to the latest film with assurance that this legend will take more thrilling and unexpected turns. Instead, we get a comedic and notably pedestrian fare.

I feel conflicted about REC Genesis. If you’ve not seen the other two films, nor the competent American remakes, Quarantine and Quarantine 2: Terminal (also penned and helmed by the original Spanish writer-directors), then REC Genesis stands as an above average and enjoyable zombie romp. For fans of the first two REC films, it seems inevitable that you will be left wanting.

The two leads in REC Genesis make an amiable pair to watch. Clara (played by Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín) are newlyweds whose wedding reception becomes the scene of a massacre as one of the guests carries the zombie infection, having crossed paths with one of the unfortunate tenants from the first film. Apart from this tenuous connection, Genesis does little to extend the story that evolved over the other REC films. There is more religious injection into this plot, but it lacks the provocative and terrifying lick of the previous films.

The audience will still barrack for the survival of the young lovers in REC Genesis. The bride is played with beguiling gusto by Dolera, proving once again that these Spanish film-makers cast strong female leads without overly sexualising them. Nevertheless, the bride in Genesis incredulously chainsaws only one side of her wedding dress so her garter shows while she continues to run in ridiculously high heels throughout the latter part of the film. Such an ill conceived heterosexual male fantasy that women would want to, or be able to maintain, such ridiculous fashion choices during the zombie apocalypse! (It’s a real thing, jeepers!)

REC Genesis provides genuine laughs at times, but it is unconcerned with scaring its committed audience. Comedic zombie films have an established history, with horror master George Romero re-styling his Night of the Living Dead series as a horror comedy in the 1980s. The excessive gore in REC Genesis is played as slapstick. The narrative ambles along in entertaining but predictable grooves. Overall, the tone of this film lacks the punch of the previous REC movies, which unfurled as a clever, elongated fear feast.

On the one hand, it is commendable that the REC writing-directing-producing team of three set out to reinvent and push their original story further into new territory, rather than playing it safe and delivering derivative thrills. On the other hand, in this particular case, the comedic horror style was a miscalculation for their established audience. The first two REC films stand together as a blistering example of the majesty of the horror genre. When horror films are conceived with passion for intelligent audiences, they deliver solid characters and stories of morality and human endurance through unexpected frights that delight. REC Genesis does not meet this promise, nor does it stand up to the calibre of its predecessors. Neither thrilling nor inventive, it doesn’t move its audience’s imagination nor does it inspire us to ponder and debate the macabre.

Rating: Credit - 6.5 out of 10 Zombie Bites. A cut above the other zombie flicks plaguing our screens, but mediocre when held up to the first two trailblazing RECs.

It screens at the MIFF again this Friday, should you bother going along?

"Short answer, ‘Yes’ with an ‘If,’ long answer: ‘No’ with a ‘But’." If you haven’t seen the other RECs and you feel like a laugh, by all means go forth and zombie. Otherwise, I recommend you go instead to V/H/S (which I’ll be reviewing next) or any of the other horror films screening at the MIFF, such as the Australian film 100 Bloody Acres, which looks ace. Can’t wait to see it in general release. 

freshdoodle:

Walker
‘Walker’, as the people from the AMC’s hit series ‘The Walking Dead’ call them. I’m such a huge fan of the series and I’m quite pissed that they had to split season 2 and continue the other half on February 2012! The fans do not deserve to wait like this! Finish the damn series already! lol.
I personally think that the costume designer or make up artists of these ‘Walkers’ did such a good job that these zombies look so real and unique. And the CG effects are just as good too! Props to the actors as well, as what I’ve heard from the Walking Dead director on ‘the Talking Dead’ show, they were quite picky with their actors and actually had classes for ‘zombie walking’ lol.
Enjoy guys! Peace! \m/
Prints, Iphone/Ipod case, Laptop skins and Shirt prints of this piece are AVAILABLE HERE
Connect with me @:WebsiteDeviant ArtShadownessFacebookTwitterBehance
High-res

freshdoodle:

Walker

‘Walker’, as the people from the AMC’s hit series ‘The Walking Dead’ call them. I’m such a huge fan of the series and I’m quite pissed that they had to split season 2 and continue the other half on February 2012! The fans do not deserve to wait like this! Finish the damn series already! lol.

I personally think that the costume designer or make up artists of these ‘Walkers’ did such a good job that these zombies look so real and unique. And the CG effects are just as good too! Props to the actors as well, as what I’ve heard from the Walking Dead director on ‘the Talking Dead’ show, they were quite picky with their actors and actually had classes for ‘zombie walking’ lol.

Enjoy guys! Peace! \m/

Prints, Iphone/Ipod case, Laptop skins and Shirt prints of this piece are AVAILABLE HERE

Connect with me @:
Website
Deviant Art
Shadowness
Facebook
Twitter
Behance

You can now add Zombie Snails to the ever growing list of “zombified insects”. I’ve posted before about Zombified Bees, Zombie Caterpillars, and Zombified Ants. The invaluable and all-zombie-knowing Zombie Research Network explains further about zombie snails:

Worm eggs unknowingly ingested by the Amber Snail hatch in the snails digestive track. The larva then change into sporocysts, causing drastic mutations in the snail’s brain and physiology. Healthy snails seek darkness to hide from predators, but the infected Amber Snail moves itself into dangerous open space and light.  It is also helpless to retract its newly swollen, pulsating tentacles.

The end result is that feeding birds mistake the exposed tentacles for a caterpillar or grub, and rip them off the snail’s defenseless head. The flatworm then grows to maturity inside the bird, laying eggs that are released in droppings for new snails to consume. Here’s a clip of the zombie snail in action.

As I’ve pointed out before, this phenomena is usually known as parasites - but as I’ve just finished watching Season 2 of The Walking Dead, I feel it more appropriate to classify this behaviour as “zombification”.

Via: The Zombie Research Network.

sseafaring:

Because I love random information.

zeezeescorner:

I told you all about Zombified Insects who are zombified via zombifying fungii. Then I told you about the Zombifying Effect of zombie caterpillars. Now we have Zombie Bees, brought to our attention via fledging zombie scholar, sseafaring. A parasitic fly (Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus Borealis) is laying eggs inside honey bees which cause the bees to walk in circles, pursue bright lights, makes them unable to stand, and eventually die.


Regular, non-moral-panicking science calls this phenomena “parasites” -naturally occurring organisms that have been part of the world’s ecosystem for millennia. But Zombie Sociologists the world over know this by a better and more scientifically accurate name: “Zombification”. (A Real Word, albeit one not recognised by spell check.) In times such as these, when zombie-related-duress is rising, we must turn to hard-hitting journalists for clues as to how to behave:

Kent Brockman: Hordes of panicky people seem to be evacuating the town for some unknown reason. Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?

Professor: Mmm, yes I would, Kent.

(Okay so there actually is a serious side to this discovery: it may lead scientists to address the dwindling colonies of bees in Europe and America. Read the PLoS ONE study.)